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Faith in Exile: The Lesson of Tibet

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Faith in Exile: The Lesson of Tibet

Published 2004

For the last half-century, the Tibetan people have endured the brunt of some of the Chinese governments most brutal policies. In the 1990's, an international activist movement, which attracted a small army of A-list celebrities, brought the Tibetan struggle to the mainstream. But since 9/11, Tibet has all but disappeared from the front page.

September 11th was a tragedy for the American people, but it was a boon for totalitarian regimes around the world. In the pursuit of its so-called war on terror, the United States has forged military alliances and inked trade deals with some of the worlds most repressive regimes. On September 13, 2001 China was quietly admitted to the World Trade Organization, and given Most Favored Nation status by U.S., despite the fact the country is one of the worlds worst human rights abusers.

With its economy booming, China has become desperate to exploit Tibet's vast mineral and fuel reserves - and that has meant keeping a tight grip on any moves towards Tibetan autonomy. Arrests, torture and destruction of local culture continue despite the tireless work of Tibetan exiles and their high-profile western allies. In fact, the situation grows more dire by the day. Yet unlike an increasing number of indigenous liberation movements, Tibetans have not resorted to violence to achieve their goals.

In Faith in Exile, GNN asks, "Does the non-violent resistance of the Tibetan people provide a valuable lesson for a world in turmoil?"

Run time 8:30 min
Producer Josh Shore
Production Company Guerrilla News Network
Audio/Visual sound, color
Contact Information


Director: Anthony Lappé
Producer: Josh Shore
Editor/Designer: Meaghan Eckman

A Guerrilla News Network film.

Produced in conjunction with the Milarepa Fund and the Students for a Free Tibet.


- History of the Chinese invasion and occupation
- Palden Gayatso's story: Torture and redemption
- China's hungry economy
- Faith and hope: A global non-violent movement


Reviewer: kills-on-top - favoritefavoritefavorite - February 24, 2015
Subject: ssdd
i haven't actually read the book, i read some of it, but the overwhelming feeling i instantly got from that and reading the reviews is it is almost exactly the same situation that the native americans were put in and still are in. the american people are not the world's liberators anymore are they? as if they ever were. the nazi regime got it's ideas from watching how the americans treated the native americans. we didn't beat hitler, we are hitler. birds of a feather flock together, hence the great friendship with the dictator giant china. while the world sits back and watches sacred tibet and her people being destroyed without batting an eye, i am sickened by the false belief that modern white man brought civilization to the world. no they did not. it is a well documented and known fact with historians, that whenever 2 cultures collide, it is always, 100% of the time the more violent, less civilized, more barbaric, uncouth, unevolved culture that wins. so that tells all of us who's in the world's driver's seats doesn't it? my only question is how, at this late date, can this even keep happening? i don't get it, unless mankind is just a failed biological experiment running on the same old software programs over and over and over til he self destructs. all of mankind's history from the ugaids on can easily be told in a series of wars. nothing new under the sun indeed. if mankind cannot evolve, grow, change, learn from his past mistakes, he will go the way of the small pea brained dinosaurs, and the quicker the better for all the other species and the planet itself. even most parasites have evolved enough to know better than to kill it's own host, but mankind hasn't. and yet in his infantile vanity he loudly proclaims and believes himself to be a superior being. in what way i would venture to ask? none of the animals dirty their own beds, fight or kill for no real reason. only man. if you take any living organism out of the environment many things will happen to degrade it. if you take man out of the environment it only imporves, to me this shows that mankind was placed here, did not evolve here, does not belong here. he obviously has to be virtually wiped out approx. every 5,000 yrs. due to his extreme violence towards the planet. the tibetans who have been displaced are not the same people they once were, just as the native american people are not either. but to point fingers and criticize is hardly what the situation requires. i still can't believe the vanity of modern men, they automatically assume their culture is the best and everyone should want to learn to conform to it. nothing could be further from the truth.
Reviewer: Mrs. Bertha Littlejohn - favoritefavorite - June 5, 2011
Subject: Ineffective Tibetan Exile Community
The Tibetan exile community and the government in exile must do more than complain. More than 95% of the world's Tibetan population lives in China. Like many people in China who have poor ability in the Chinese language and live in remote areas, education plays an uncertain and wobbly road to a better future. In many Tibetan communities in China, access to water, fuel, good jobs, and so on is severely limited. There IS something that can be done about this and the government-in-exile has had plenty of time to do something--there is very little to show. One must also ask if Dharamshala is a model of what Tibetans in exile envision of Greater Tibet to be in the unlikely event Greater Tibet were to ever become independent-squalid, littered, bad smelling at times during the year. Is this the best that the exiles can do? The 118,000 Tibetan-speakers living in India are divided into an uncountable number of factions that gossip and pick at each other constantly. One gets the awful feeling that using the notoriety of the Dalai Lama to attract selfish attention to themselves is their chief interest--to milk attention, pity, and, ultimately, resources from the West to improve their own well-being. Furthermore, anyone who has had experience with the Tibetan community in China and then has met exiles, particularly exiles who have never been to China, will feel an immediate disconnect. The overwhelming impression is of a group of people who care little about anything but immigrating to the USA or, maybe, Canada, and writing home about their accomplishments in getting as far away as possible from the Tibetan homeland in China. One reason that there is almost no interest in anything Tibetan beyond the spiritual element is because of this utter lack of ability of the Tibetans in exile to offer a compelling vision for a better future. Certainly, Dharamshala cannot be used as that better future.
Reviewer: AlexJonesLemming - favoritefavorite - November 2, 2006
Subject: Tyranny of the Monk Class
I have also heard, from Parenti and others, that the "Monk Class" in Tibet was equally or more brutal than the Chinese. It treated ordinary people like slaves, and chopped off hands or lamed feet of peasants who challenged the despotic rule of this religious class, akin to Church rule in Europe.
Reviewer: Young kid from Beijing - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 27, 2005
Subject: Impressive documentary
Our governement attepmts to conceal the facts of Tibet and justify the invasion. Thats true. I think most of Chinese people will be shocked to know the truth, however, they may not be granted a chance to access relevant information.

But I think the most important thing here for Tibetans is to reach a consensus with our government on the status of their "country" becfore Dalai Lama passes away. Thats vital for their own interest and a workable solution for that piece of land.

Just barking does not work.
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